FSHA Alumna to Play Pro Volleyball in France

Jenna Orlandini, a 2009 graduate of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, will be playing volleyball with the Vannes Volleyball Club of Vannes, France.
Jenna Orlandini, a 2009 graduate of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, will be playing volleyball with the Vannes Volleyball Club of Vannes, France.

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy is known for producing amazing athletes – and Jenna Orlandini is no exception.

Jenna ’09 recently signed a contract to play professional volleyball with the Vannes Volleyball Club of Vannes, France making her the first Tolog to sign a professional volleyball contract.

As a student at FSHA, she played volleyball for all four years, winning many awards for her athleticism. In 2008, Jenna won first team in the All-Mission League. She was also selected for the All-Area Team in Pasadena Star News. Stephanie Contreras, FSHA’s athletic director, was a big part of Orlandini’s cheering section.

“She was an amazing libero,” said Contreras. “She was always about her team first and herself second. She is one very humble young lady.”

Volleyball was a natural fit for Jenna; after all, the sport was a family affair. While at FSHA, Jenna played alongside her older sister Samantha ’08 as well as an older cousin. Serving as coach was Jenna’s mother Shelli, a remarkable volleyball player in her own right.

“It was weird at first [having your mom as a coach], but then you learn that she is a coach and she isn’t your parent when she’s coaching,” Jenna explained. “She was tougher on me than anyone else.”

After graduating from FSHA, Jenna went on to play at the University of Washington. While there, she played libero and took the team to the NCAA Final Four in 2013 and captured the PAC-12 title. She also received the 2014 Female Top Dawag Award, the highest award given to a female athlete at the University of Washington. This past December Jenna graduated from the University of Washington with a double bachelor’s degree in communication and sociology.

Jenna first attracted the Vannes coaches through a highlight reel and videos of previous games that she compiled after her classes concluded. The entire process took a month and for a time she and her family had to keep the big news a secret.

“They were so excited and just wanted to tell everybody,” she said. “So it’s great to be able to share the news.”

Jenna doesn’t leave until mid-to-late August and she’s looking forward to arriving in France.

“I’m really excited for the level of competition,” she said. “The team that I’m joining is in the premiere league in France, so it’s exciting to compete at such a high level.”

But all this change naturally comes with a bit of nerves.

“I’m most nervous about the language barrier because, as a libero, you talk to your teammates constantly. You’re directing the traffic,” she explained. “If you can’t communicate, it makes it really hard [to play].”

Jenna has started learning French in preparation.

Even though she will be many miles away next year, Jenna has a bunch of fans that will be watching her from La Cañada.

“She is a very hard working volleyball player that does not take anything for granted,” said Contreras. “I’m so very proud of Jenna and all that she has accomplished. Now she’ll be able to show the rest of the world how good she really is.”